Potential Habitable Planets

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Into Darkness, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Into Darkness

    Into Darkness Captain Captain

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    I was looking at Earth and how you have extreme temperature variations, equator is obviously the hottest but it's suitable for Human habitation, the polar regions are the coldest and inhospitable because these areas gain less heat from the sun.

    But I was thinking, could it be possible for there to be a planet which is different where the equatorial region is completely inhospitable and the polar regions are perfect for human habitation?

    I presume that if you moved Earths orbit closer to the sun you could theoretically reach an orbit where the equatorial region would be too hot to survive there but the polar regions such as Antartica would become the perfect temperature for life and the ice would melt.

    So could it be possible that some Earth like world out there we discover which come up with high temperatures and appear inhospitable could infact have polar regions that harbour life or could plesantly support human colonies?

    For example: If you moved Earth closer to the Sun so temperature rose by 53 degrees celsius, the average temperature in the arctic and antarctic would be around 15 degrees celsius and at the equator would become 84 degrees celsius. So although the equator would be inhospitable desert the polar regions would be entirely livable.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  2. JustAFriend

    JustAFriend Commodore Commodore

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    With the likelihood of several hundred billion planets in the galaxy, anything is possible and likely to exist somewhere.

    In Frank Herbert's Dune, Arrakis is nearly uninhabitable in the equatorial zone.
     
  3. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, it's possible. Next question.
     
  4. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Habitable areas on other planets (by human standard) could be in all sorts if places.
    Polar regions, just the equator, or the planet is tidally locked and life only exists on the day/night terminus or outright only on the night side, receiving light only reflected by a number of moons or a ring system...
     
  5. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The so-called "habitable zone" is not the only thing that affects a planetary surface. It is believed that continental drift strongly influenced the habitability of available land area. Thus, the ancient super-continent Pangea may have been a hostile desert in the areas farthest from the moderation of the ocean.

    The "obliquity" or axial tilt of a planet can have a major effect, and is the source of Earth's seasons. A planet with its axis tilted almost towards its star may not have any real day or night. Rolling along like a wheel in its orbit, the planet might have one very hot and sunny side and one very cold and dark side. The "terminator" between the two hemispheres might have a median temperature, but it might also be the area with the fiercest winds—again, depending on any oceans and land masses.

    Then there's a notion from Electric Universe/plasma cosmology—which might still work within the framework of orthodox astronomy—where a planet might orbit within the "glow mode" atmosphere of its star. Such a planet would receive a constant flux from all directions, thus having no night or day. (Or rather, an eternal day.) Such a planet might be very hospitable for life, although any intelligent life there may be eternally cut off from radio astronomy and SETI, until they ventured beyond the plasma sphere of their sun. (See excerpt from THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE by Wallace Thornhill and David Talbot below.)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    No.

    And no.
     
  7. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    These missions to find Poetentially Habitable Planets are very low-cost and I am in full support of them. However, these scientists are so money mad and craving for glory, that they will exaggerate their claims on discovering anything and they've done this many times over. I am not an amateur astronomer, or scientist, although I do have an interest in paleontology. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not fossil-rich in dinosaurs. We have a lot of dinosaur tracks, though. And when you think of how long dinosaurs ruled the Earth, that's a significant slice of the history of life. If it's any example of what's happening "out there," we're probably never going to "find" those aliens that are going to $ave us from ourselves. I have often wondered if it doesn't take an entire universe to increase the true odds of intelligent life occuring, anywhere, at all. Even on one planet. I can't help but feel that we are alone ...
     
  8. Into Darkness

    Into Darkness Captain Captain

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    Would knockin Vesta out of it's orbit and slamming it into Venus cause enough of an explosion to eject the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into space to reverse the greenhouse effect?
     
  9. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why would you want to remove the gas in such a brute force fashion? What is the effect on the atmosphere of dust due to the collision and an orbital cloud of debris?
     
  10. Into Darkness

    Into Darkness Captain Captain

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    Dust would probably have a nice cooling effect and then settle leaving the planet ready for colonisation. As for orbital debris, that will probably soon fall back to the planet or fly off into space.

    Nevermind anyway, the size difference between Venus and Vesta is huge, it would be like firing a pea shooter at it.
     
  11. Spider

    Spider Dirty Old Man Premium Member

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    "Life as we know it" defines how we think about habitable planets only in terms of planets that might be habitable by man or something we have here on Earth. Since we are dealing with a sample size of one, it's hard to tell what a habitable planet might be to something else. Earth could be poisonous to them. The first forms of life on Earth originated in a much different ecosphere, something we couldn't survive in. Until early life oxygenated the planet what we think of Earth life today couldn't exist.

    The process of evolution of life on another planet and that life's effect on the ecosphere could produce very different results.
     
  12. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    So far the best bets for terraforming Venus seem to involve freezing the CO2 into permanent glaciers of dry ice, or if enough hydrogen can be found there, converting the CO2 into graphite and water via the Bosch process. There could also possibly be major deposits of calcium and magnesium oxides or hydroxides that could be converted to limestone if the temperatures were lower (baking CO2 out of limestone is how we make cement).

    Living in an airship about 55 km above of the surface also seems quite feasible.
     
  13. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Too much work. Just blow up the planet and build a new one with proper CO2 levels.

    But airships are fine too. I am not quite sure why aren't we making floating or underwater dwellings on Earth. Sure, living on the surface is many times more efficient, but if we're to adapt to living on another world, preferably self-sustained, we ought to try living and surviving in the different environments here on Earth first. Either that, or where's the eccentric megalomaniac billionaire who thinks living there makes them awesome? I love the Japanese project(s) for ocean cities that were posted here some time ago.


    Habitable poles and inhabitable equator would be kind of awesome too, but not for the possibility to settle there. There would be more independence in the evolution between the hemispheres, which might (or might not) lead to stranger results. I've been exploring the idea for some time. I like it. The societal aspect of it is also worth looking at. Societies living on the two halves would be more disconnected and travel between them would be much difficult. At best ships would have to cross the tropical regions during the night (one night!), at worst the crossing would be more deadly then our poles are. The ability to travel easily between them would have been seen as much more miraculous than our ability to presently live on the poles.
     
  14. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    More on the subject--and some debunking
    http://dealingwithcreationisminastronomy.blogspot.com/2012/12/electric-universe-new-scientist.html
    http://www.christianforums.com/t7758314-5/
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There was a novel about Ensign Flandry (Agent of the Terran Empire) I read years ago, iirc one world had such a thick atmosphere (which was fine for the natives) that Humans could only live comfortably on the tops of tall mountains.

    Which I found interesting.

    :)
     
  16. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    no. You forget about mass attraction. The gas would be gradually pulled back by the planet's gravity. Also, atmospheres tend to cling very tightly to their planets. Shaking them off with just an impact is next to impossible. The best example is our own planet: about the same mass as Venus, major collision with the moon (which is a good deal bigger than Vesta) and yet we still have an atmosphere. What little of it the moon took away after the collision has long since been pulled back to Earth (though the last moon mission reported that they thought they had seen a slight haze over the moon's horizon. Personally I think it was just the dust they had kicked up themselves during their mission, maybe even at their landing. It takes a few days to settle up there.).

    Venus would still be uninhabitable even if it were in our orbit and have our atmosphere: it has only an extremely weak magnetic field to ward of the solar wind. The radiation levels would be too high for Terran DNA to stay intact. It'd crumble like dust. You'd have to find some way of biological coding that is less vulnerable.
    There have been suggestions of proteins in the atmosphere but a protein doesn't necessarily mean life (example: the existence of clay doesn't mean there'll be brick buildings). You can induce their spontaneous formation in the lab quite easily (the proteins', I mean, not the brick buildings' :p)


    (edited twice for spelling - If you find another typo please simply endure it - I have a huge cold and am only half awake)
     
  17. Into Darkness

    Into Darkness Captain Captain

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    The more you think or look at it, the Earth is not only lucky to be in the habitable zone but also lucky to have it's magnetic field. In fact, it's lucky to have so much water and the gravity to hold on to an atmosphere.

    I'm starting to believe maybe the Earth is rarer than many people believe and there aren't so many habitable worlds out there afterall.
     
  18. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Maxwell Montes on Venus is 11 km tall and a human could survive the pressure there (about 43 atmospheres), but the temperature is still going to be over 600 F. That mountain range is about 500 km on a side, so instead of focusing on getting the entirety of Venus barely habitable, aiming at getting the mountain top habitable would make terroforming a bit easier.
     
  19. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, the definition of "habitable" depends on what kind of life we're talking about.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm with Scotpens there. I should think on other planets life develops in a different way. Therefore there should be a lot of inhabitable planets, only they wouldn't necessarily be inhabitable for us.
    I mean our planet is perfect for carbon-based organisms with a high water ratio. But it's only perfect for us because we developed here. On other planets the organisms might be silicone based or nebula-like. They would have developed in a way that is perfect for their respective environment.

    Like Dawin said: those who fit best survive. The others will get extinct.